To go along with our Finance Focus February theme, I’m sharing a cash envelope system technique that is way easier then carrying cash.
The other day while doing our budget, which I update almost daily (I share why below), I took a close look at how we were doing using Dave Ramsey’s envelope system. I shared how we got started on it and how we set it all up.
We so enjoyed carrying cash with us and that it was always super easy to have at our finger-tips. I even loved going to the bank twice a month to pull a wad of cash out – I need so many $20s, so many $10s, so many $5s, etc. It was awesome!
It got old, real fast! So I came up with something else… a technique that works best for us. I call it…
The Easier Cash Envelope System.
I know, I know. I’m super creative with my names. You don’t have to tell me how I should win an award for coming up with the best name ever!
I was at the bank one day, waiting in line to withdrawal our cash and I was just annoyed. Don’t get me wrong, I love our bank. The people are nice and they are so easy to work with, but it was getting old. On this particular day I decided to go inside. It was always easier to go inside to do a mix-match of cash withdrawal. Plus, it was raining so I thought it would just be easier. I guess everyone had the same thought as me because the line was long.
As I’m standing there I kept thinking that there had to be an easier way to do this. There just had to be!
I came up with an idea and ended up talking with one of the personal bankers. I would open up two more checking accounts. One for me and one for J. I would connect them to our main account and then every two weeks I would just transfer the money over. Genius!
Our bank is great! There is no limit to the number of checking accounts you can have and no minimum balance requirement. That way if J or I ended up spending every last dime then we would not be penalized. I even set up overdraft protection (at no cost, unless we used it) that our main checking account would cover. We never plan to overdraft, but it doesn’t hurt to have the protection.
This easier cash envelope system was working perfectly! I had my debit card, J had his and we were in happy-happy land. J was never crazy about the idea of a debit card. He likes cold hard cash. That way he knows at any given moment how much he has left. I like the debit card because I don’t spend it as fast. He has weekly bowling that he has to pay for and it’s either check or cash. So the debit card wasn’t the easiest tool for him.
So we compromised! Marriage is all about compromise, right?!
I took his debit card and made it my grocery account. He goes to the bank and withdrawals his own miscellaneous money.
Now every two weeks I transfer my miscellaneous funds to my account and I transfer our grocery budget to our other checking account, then J goes to the bank and withdrawals his cash. Which means no more waiting in lines for me! No more post-it notes with how many bills I need and feeling like I’m slipping the teller this awful “hand it all over” note.
Here’s how our banking situation looks like:
Joint Checking – all of our incomes comes in and our bills come out of this one.
My Checking – whatever I want to spend the money on – hair, clothes, books, etc.
Grocery Checking – we spend this at the grocery store (#duh)
Emergency Fund – we keep at least our insurance deductible amounts in here, plus a little extra
Tax Fund – we transfer money into this account each month so that by the end of the year we have enough to cover our personal and real property tax. Plus, we have our home insurance that is paid from here in the summer.
I could probably add a vacation savings, but until we’re debt free that’s not a huge priority. If we have a trip plan then I just transfer bonus money into our emergency fund and keep up with it on our budget spreadsheet. I’ve shared how I use Google Sheets as our check register, well I use it for our budget too. That way we can access it from anywhere.
I’m telling you, if your bank will let you open up multiply checking accounts that are connected AND it doesn’t cost you a monthly fee… do it! This is the easier cash envelope system that makes it much more likely for you to stick with it.
No more having to remember to run to the bank, no more carrying a bunch of cash and a massive wallet with you. This is what works!
To read more focus on finance tips and posts, check out here.